Once upon a Frog (Whatever After #8) Review
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Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Runtime: 3 hours, 21 minutes
Read by Emily Eiden

There’s nothing quite like a good fairy tale—a magical story filled with romance, adventure, and fantasy. Admittedly, though, they can sometimes be a little too...fluffy. But the audio version of Once upon a Frog, the eighth book in author Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After series, offers another fun twist on a familiar fairy tale.

Once upon a Frog finds 10-year-old Abby and her little brother, Jonah, traveling back through the magic mirror in their basement and into fairy tale land after they attempt to use the mirror to talk to Mary Rose, the fairy who lives there. But their plan to talk to Mary Rose gets put on hold when they meet a prince who’s been turned into a frog. They attempt to find a princess who will help, but after an encounter with mean Princess Coco, Abby becomes determined to find a different way to return the prince to normal.

Once again, Abby and Jonah discover that the fairy tale they once thought they knew didn’t really tell the whole story. And as the siblings set out to fix the story and give everyone the ending they deserve, they run into all kinds of surprises along the way. Adding more twists to the story is the fact that there are so many different versions of this particular fairy tale. Abby recalls them all one by one, trying to decide whether they’ll turn the frog back into a prince by kissing him, throwing him against a wall, or something more darker and gruesome. So in the middle of this twisted fairy tale, listeners will also learn more about the original stories (and not just the Disney version).

Meanwhile, each book in this fun-filled, family-friendly series offers some kind of a moral. This time, Abby learns not to judge other people too quickly—because nice people can sometimes turn out to be not-so-nice, and mean people might just be hiding their own hurts and fears. For grown-up listeners, this part of the story might be pretty easy to predict—because Abby is so set in her judgment of the other characters she meets. She’s so judgmental, in fact, that her attitude can sometimes be rather frustrating. But it plays into what turns out to be a valuable lesson for young listeners.

Even after eight installments, the Whatever After series is still full of delightful fairy tale surprises. This isn’t the strongest book in the series, but whether your little princess is looking for a good bedtime read or a way to pass the hours on your next road trip, Once upon a Frog is another good choice.

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